If there is one thing scarier than skydiving, then it is – being asked ‘Tell me about yourself’ by a group of strangers in a formal setting. So today I will teach you a simple 10 step process to answer this trick question which appears in every job interview.
In this video we will cover
a) A simple 10 step – which you can use in ANY job interview
b) Basic rules to follow at each step
c) Some common mistakes and how to correct them
I will also help you with some standard phrases which you can pick up if English is not your first language and at the end I will give you a full sample introduction that you can use with suitable customisation.
Tell me about yourself? This question can come in many forms – walk me through your resume, take us through your background etc. but remember this is a trick question. The interviewer asks you to tell them about you, when in fact they already know everything about you from your resume. So what do they really want to know – they want to know two things about you –
a) Your attitude towards work. What sort of person are you?
b) Are you a good fit for this job? What can you contribute to the company?
So we have to catch their attention and keep them interested. Chances are they have had a long day seeing hundreds of applicants who look like you. This is your opportunity to prove to them that you are the best person for the job.
Here are the steps that you will follow –
Category 1 – Who are You?
Step 1 – Greeting
Formal greetings – recommended for interviews – good morning (before 12 noon), good afternoon (after 12 noon), good evening (after 4:30/5 pm till midnight)
Hello can be both formal and informal
smile, confident body language, make eye contact.
Common mistakes –
a) saying hi, wassup, hey at a formal interview.
b) Fumbling over the morning and afternoon
Step 2 – Thank you for the opportunity (optional)
Depending on the situation, you could say, thank you for shortlisting me for the interview OR thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself. This helps make a great first impression and also relaxes both them and you
Step 3 – Your Name
I am or I’m – OR My name is or My name’s –
cheerful, proud of your own name – enunciate it clearly,
Q. Should I use my full name
A. Yes, always use your full name, simply the first name sounds casual
Common mistakes –
a) saying ‘myself’ Chetna Vasishth
b) Calling yourself Mr or Ms
Category 2 – Why You’re Qualified
Step 4 – Position and Company
If you are currently in a job, give a quick snapshot of your company name, position, any awards, number of years of experience, your major responsibilities and basically tell them a story of how you changed something or made a difference to the company
example – For the last five years, I have been a sales manager at ….., leading a small sales team and our team was awarded the best sales team of the year, for two years in a row. I have worked closely with clients and built some key relationships.
Example – I am an HR manager at …… looking after the key functions of recruitment, compensation, learning and development. I have over 5 years of experience in this field and we have been able to increase our employee productivity by 8% during this period.
b) Sound enthusiastic about your work
c) Don’t sound very pompous – like I handle everything and I am the boss – show your ability to work as a team.
d) Tell them something over and above what they can already read from your resume.
e) If you claim something, try to give them proof and make it believable
Q. Should I start with my most recent position and go backwards or start with the earliest position and go backwards?
A. You should start with the most recent position. Go backwards only if necessary, otherwise the resume has it all
Step 5 – Qualifications
For a fresher –
I am a recent MBA from ….. with prior work experience in the pharmacuetical sector.
I have completed a Bachelors in Mass Media degree with a specialisation in Public Relations and Corporate communications
I am currently pursuing a 5 year integrated law program at …. school with a focus on cyber law
If your college is well known, you can mention the name, if not, you can ignore that part
Common Mistake –
I have done my BMM from NMIMS ?
If you are a fresher then just one line like I am a software engineer from …. does not seem enough. At this point you can add an achievement oriented mini story e.g. I was part of the research project on ‘how modern technologies change the way of teaching in the future’ where we worked with an ed tech company to evaluate the efficacy of some tech based teaching interventions.
Make sure that you talk about a project in an area that is relevant to the employer. If the area is not directly relevant, talk about the skills that might be relevant. e.g. you might have done a project like ‘how gaming consoles affect the youth’ but you are just about to join a food marketing company – then you can say something like – this helped us understand the motivations of today’s youth and how to attract their attention with our products and services.
You can also talk about any internships or training programs that you may have attended during your graduation and what you learnt from them
Q. Should I mention my CGPA if I am a fresher
A. Normally this number would be found on the resume, but if you wish to highlight your academic success then a better way would be – I have consistently been in the top 1% of my class
Step 6 – Additional Qualifications
This could include skills you have, courses you have attended or awards that you may have won – mention the most relevant and significant ones.
I have completed a six month computer animation course from coursera
I am proficient in German and Spanish
I have learnt .Net, java and python on coursera which have helped me in completing a project on …
Step 7 – Adjectives
Use a couple of adjectives to describe yourself – it could be versatile, determined, hard working or someone who loves working, is creative, solution oriented , open minded, easy going, enjoy working with others.
Step 8 – Hobbies / Passions
Include these if they help establish connect with the interviewer, if they are significant or if they demonstrate some skill that you wish to highlight.
I am a trained singer and the daily riyaz has taught me self discipline and dedication
I am a keen runner and this not only helps me keep fit but also helps me network with other runners in the community
Keep this section very brief.
Step 9 – Family (optional)
I would typically leave this out of my introduction, but it can be used strategically if you wish. e.g.
e.g. my mother has been a housewife and during my vacations I helped her set up a small tailoring boutique at home with my savings from work.
my father is a farmer and I helped set up a process where he could directly sell his produce at the farmer’s market and by-pass the middle men.
Basically, use this to show some skill or achievement or establish connect, otherwise skip it. Alternatively, you can use this technique to answer a question that the interviewer poses about your family, later during the interview.
Category 3 – Why You’re here
Step 10 – Closing
This is the most important part of the introduction where you talk about two things
a) Why are you applying to this job
b) why you think you are the right fit for the job.
Talk about your future plans and connect it to the companies goals
Although I love my current role, I feel I’m now ready for a more challenging assignment and this position really excites me. This is general and you can make it more specific to your situation.
OR Show off your knowledge of the company, with a little flattery
With my passion for sport and my skills of data analytics I wish to work for a leading innovative sports analytics company like yours and I do believe I can make a positive impact.
You can end it by saying – That’s all about me. Thank you
a) Read the job description carefully to borrow some words to answer this question
b) Sound enthusiastic for the position
a) Write down your personal introduction and make sure you have included your top selling points for the position. This will vary from position to position, so take the time to make the changes each time
b) Jot down and learn the key points. Don’t memorize the entire thing coz you might sound robotic. Don’t worry too much about small grammar mistakes.
c) Limit your introduction to about 1 minute
d) Be confident and maintain good eye contact with your interviewer. If there are multiple people in the room, address each one of them. Don’t give your full answer looking at only one person ignoring the others in the room
e) Use a story telling mode with intonations to keep them engaged. You can use hand gestures if you wish, make it conversational and natural
f) Sound happy and excited about your work and accomplishments and about the new job
Here’s what a sample answer could look like
Good afternoon. Thank you for shortlisting me for the interview. My name is Sonia Madhok. I am a sales team leader at PQR for the past 5 years making significant into new territories with our products. I have worked intensively in both the rural and semi urban markets, understood the dynamic and built some strong distributor relationships. I am an MBA from XYZ with a strong background in marketing. During work breaks I enjoy trekking and mountaineering. This activity has shown me that good strategy, consistency and determination can help you overcome any obstacle. I am a person who thrives in a fast paced environment and right now I am looking for an opportunity to apply my marketing expertise along with my creative problem solving skills to an innovative marketing company like yours.